GLOBALIZATION | WORKING PAPERS
What Drives Populist Votes? Recent Insights and Open Questions
by Thiemo Fetzer & Robert Gold
PUBLISHED9. OCTOBER 2019
This paper provides an overview on current research on the rise of populism in Europe. The focus is on economic developments that foster voting for populist parties and candidates. The paper argues that the simultaneity of macro-economic shocks from the financial crisis, globalization, and technological change increased inequality between skill and income groups. This increased the demand for populist policies amongst those on the losing side of economic development. Perceived distributional conflict was exacerbated by immigration and austerity policies. Economics alone, however, is not sufficient for explaining the large increases in electoral support of populists. While culture also plays a role, it is the individual voter who eventually decides whom to vote for. And populist parties are particular successful in developing strategies to attract voters that feel anxious about current and future economic developments.